Why the pickle ornament isn’t just a cute food trend.

“A very old Christmas eve tradition in Germany was to hide a pickle [ornament] deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree. The parents hung the pickle last after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning they knew the most observant child would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas. The first adult who finds the pickle traditionally gets good luck for the whole year.”

This Christmas pickle story, with a few minor variations, can be found all over the Web, in printed ads, and inside the ornament package. It says that Germans hang a pickle-shaped glass ornament on the Christmas tree hidden away so it’s difficult to find. The first child to find it on Christmas morning gets a special treat or an extra present.

The starving Civil War solider theory

The story goes that a captured Union Army soldier was starving in a prison camp. On Christmas Eve, he begged a guard for a pickle. The guard obliged, which the solider said sustained him and essentially saved his life. After returning home, the solider began the tradition of hanging a pickle on his family’s tree each Christmas Eve.